New Mandatory Social Membership

Dear Spring Run Members,

On April 28, 2011, Spring Run Golf Club’s Board of Directors instituted a new policy that you should be aware of regarding leasees of your units. If you ever rent out your unit, you need to be aware of this change:

New Social Transfer Membership applicable to all Renters in Spring Run

This policy, effective immediately, creates a mandatory Social Transfer Membership for everyone who rents in Spring Run who does not take the normal Full Transfer Membership. In other words, your renters, who in the past have simply rented from you, now will be registered with the Master Association, will have a House Account, and can use the Dining Rooms, Tennis Courts, Fitness Room, and Bocce Courts, but excludes Golf Privileges.

A fee of $100 plus tax for this Social Transfer Membership is applicable, which is in addition to the $100 fee already charged by the Neighborhood Association for the Lease. Transfer Members who already pay the fee of $225 plus tax for Full Transfer of Membership will not be subject to any new charges.

If you have not already received this notice in the mail, be on the lookout. Likewise, we will be sending the notice via email from time to time. Since 200 + residents transfer or lease their units for a period of time each year, it is a policy that impacts quite a number of people and is something that should be communicated to anyone who simply RENTS from you and does not transfer membership.  Spring Run has shared this new policy change with the local property management companies so that they are aware of what is happening as well.

So what is the reason for this change?

Over the past couple years, I have gotten feedback from various renters in Spring Run who do not play golf but say they would like to be able to use the dining facilities and other common areas such as tennis. These renters have told me that $100 would be a good value to use the facilities and have a house account, but that the current $225 is just too expensive. I occasionally get messages from members saying they talked to renters who are playing tennis or bocce anyway… either they know they can’t but try to use them regardless, or they are simply unaware that they must be registered with the Master Association. Either way, at around the same time I was considering this policy, the Finance Committee made a similar recommendation.

In the end, all parties (and a majority of Neighborhood Reps informally polled at their last meeting), agreed to creating a social transfer policy. The final version kept the membership fee reasonable, albeit a mandatory one. The Board accepted the proposed policy change and then posted it for 30 days in the Clubhouse for any member comments. At the April meeting, the Board approved the change.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reply back, call, or stop in to see me. I will be happy to discuss this with you.

Have a wonderful summer season!

Mike Zigler, GM


5 thoughts on “New Mandatory Social Membership

  1. Michael

    This doesn’t appear to be well thought out. Since we just found out about this, questions arise:

    Who do you plan on collecting the money from, the tenant or the unit owner?

    Will the $100 fee be charged for each tenant named on the lease or just $100 per unit?

    Will the $100 fee be charged for each new tenant throughout the year? For example, a unit owner rents to two tenants (husband and wife) for six months and two different tenants for the remaining six months. Would the Association attempt to collect $400?

    If the lease is for less than a year, will the amount charged up front be prorated?

    You stated that the $100 fee is for a year’s membership. If a tenant pays the $100 fee, that’s going to entitle them to a full year’s membership. Consequently, if that tenant leaves the unit early or is only a short term renter, it would appear that these tenants would then be entitled to a social membership for the rest of the year, even though they no longer reside in the community. Do you plan on refunding any portion of the fee if that tenant leaves the unit early or is only a short term renter? If you believe that the fee will just be charged for any tenant regardless of term of lease and no refunds or proration will occur, then how do you justify a fee of $100 for a tenant that is here for one month (or less in some cases) and the same $100 fee for a tenant that is here for an entire year?

    How did the Association(s) formally adopt this “policy”?

    And, what is the recording information for the Lee County public records (recorded amendments to the Declarations, By-laws, etc.) where we can find the changes that permit the Associations to mandate renters join the Club?

    You stated that this is “effective immediately.” Since most unit owners will have tenants with current leases that do not include this requirement, the unit owners can’t demand ths money from the tenant and ultimately will have to foot this bill. Did anyone consider this point?

    Also, since tenants are in current leases without these requirements, how do you plan on forcing tenants to join the “social club”? Can you even force tenants to join a social club? Just adopting a policy isn’t going to get you where you need to be. And if not, isn’t this just another fee that you are trying to collect?

    I would suggest you revise your “policy” and make this voluntary, or at a minimum, you should begin requiring this as part of all new leases. If you have so many people asking for it, then making this voluntary shouldn’t be that big of a hit on your anticipated winfall. Otherwise, you are going to have to face a few legal issues before you try to enforce this against a current tenant under a current lease.

    With the housing market and the economy the way they are and the struggle to keep units occuppied at least some parts of the year, do you really think mandating these additional costs is a good idea?

    Finally, has anyone actually sat down and thought about this for a second? I mean seriously thought about this beyond just the dollar signs. Think about this, you adopted a policy to try and force people to join your club. Isn’t there something inherently wrong with that statement?

    Thanks for your consideration of these comments and your response to these questions.


    1. Mike Zigler

      Dear Member,
      Thank you for your feedback. Allow me to clarify this issue:

      This policy was designed to ensure that everyone in Spring Run would be registered with, and be a part of, our Club. We were not attempting to create a true “social membership”; we are calling it “social” to distinguish between a Golf Transfer and this new membership, which will have rights associated with it.

      Currently, all renters, regardless of status, pay $100 to the Neighborhood Property management company to be registered with the Neighborhood…whether they stay a month or all year. This fee will now be IN ADDITION to that $100 fee. Whoever paid it before will likely pay the additional amount now. It is simply calculated per unit, and per stay, not per person. It will not be prorated. We did consider making this policy voluntary; however, the Board felt it should be mandatory.

      Although the policy states it is effective immediately, that simply means it is effective immediately for all new applicants. If you have an annual renter, the fee would be applicable upon lease renewal when the $100 is paid to the Neighborhood.

      Spring Run Golf Club has the authority to levy fees as it deems necessary. This Policy was approved at a duly noticed Board Meeting by the Board of Directors in accordance with Florida Statutes and our Governing Documents.

      Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions Article 15.1. Club Members.
      “… The Board shall have the authority to establish annual golf, tennis, swimming, social, dining, and other types of club memberships for Persons who are not Owners or residents within the Properties. Club members, if established, shall not be Members of the Association nor have voting rights. Club members’ rights and interests shall be limited to the recreational and social privileges granted to such class of club members”

      While we are all affected in some way by the economy, demand for transfer membership rentals has remained strong. Although it was discussed, this was not a determining factor in our decision to enact this policy.

      We hope that as an owner, you can appreciate all renters in Spring Run being part of our Community. This is not a rental community per se. It is a Club Community. We want those living here to have access to our services and to feel more closely connected to where they live. In our experience, we have found the greatest number of sales in Spring Run come from those renters who have taken a transfer membership, experienced the Club, and found a desire to buy here and be a part of the Community.

      I hope that this addresses your comments, but feel free to reply back with any further input.
      Michael Zigler

  2. Michael

    It is unclear whether your statement regarding $100 plus tax takes into consideration the Tourist Development Tax (“Bed Tax”). As a unit owner, if an owner is required to pay the Bed Tax (Six-month leases and month-to-month rentals are subject to the tax-which most of the unit owners who rent in this community probably fall within that category), then you will be required to remit those taxes to the State. Why bring this up?

    Because now that you just made this “social membership fee” mandatory, each unit owner will be required to pay the Bed Tax on this additional amount. Remember, anything that a renter is required to pay as a condition of occupying the property is subject to the Tourist Development Tax. Common examples include (but are not limited to) cleaning fees, reservation/processing fees, amenities fees, and nonrefundable pet deposits. In addition to the comments already made, you may also want to consider the tax implications and who is going to collect that tax. You will also want to notify the property owners that they will be responsible for collection and remitting the additional Bed Tax amount. Did anyone contact your legal counsel on this before hand or were you guys just winging it?

  3. Ces

    Thank you Michael for bringing these very valid points forward, as a unit owner I also demand proper accountability

  4. Mike Zigler

    Regarding the Bed Tax on this additional $100 fee…
    Yes, it is true that unit owners will need to pay the 5% Bed Tax on this amount. As you stated correctly, anything that a renter is required to pay as a condition of occupying a unit is subject to the Tourism Development Tax (“bed tax”). Of course, the renter doesn’t always pay these fees (lease application fees, transfer fees, etc.)…sometimes the owner does.

    Spring Run collects the 6% sales tax for the transfer membershipsand remits it to the State. The Social transfer fee will be handled like any other fee applicable to the rental of a unit. Spring Run is required to submit an annual report to the County of all Transfer Membership fees, and will now include the $100 Social Membership fees. Each unit owner has always been responsible for remitting the bed tax on all fees and rental income, and that will not change. Spring Run is not responsible for collection of that tax.

    Any rentals under 6 months are applicable to the Bed Tax. Anyone who has signed a bona fide written lease in excess of 6 months, or have paid the tax continuously month-to-month for the first 6 months without a lease, is EXEMPT from the Bed Tax.

    Michael Zigler

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